Unsurprisingly, I enjoy writing about the victories more than the defeats. Winning is more fun than losing. Everybody loves Champagne and confetti.
But losing teaches you things about yourself. Do you lose your composure and start pointing fingers and citing conspiracies? Or do you accept what’s happened and your role in it, and try to do better next time?
I am willing to take the blame for this one because I wore a t-shirt that had previously been worn for a loss — in part to try to disabuse myself of the idea that my shirt choices affect the outcome of the games. But I guess they do. In my defense, Headband Klay had an excellent track record before this year — 4–0 in last year’s Finals — but apparently has lost his mojo.
I am also guilty of putting into type the idea that we were going to win, although I think I qualified it pretty well. But I did use the word [redacted], which may have been enough to anger the basketball gods.
It’s been a wild, topsy-turvy year in the NBA playoffs. Last night the #8 seed in the East, the Miami Heat — who only snuck into the playoffs via the back door of the play-in tournament — eliminated the #1 Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile the Lakers, who also qualified through the play-in, are on the brink of bouncing the cocky young Memphis Grizzlies in a series that has put many of us longtime Laker-haters in the uncomfortable position of sort of rooting for them. And perhaps most surprising of all, the New York Knicks won a playoff series. The Knicks!
For a minute there it seemed like the Stark Fist of Removal was coming for the Warriors too. When they lost the first two games of their series, and then Draymond Green got suspended for Game 3, there was much doomsaying in the Nation: It wasn’t just the season coming to an end, it was the world. The group chat became a deathwatch.
Is it OK if I give myself a pat on the back here? It was at this point that I texted my friends:
In the end this will just be a dramatic moment in our 2023 championship video.
Which is a long way off, I know. We’re still in the first round and there are still games to be played. Last night I was reminded of the sad tale of Tracy McGrady, whose Orlando Magic went up 3–1 on the Detroit Pistons in the first round in 2003. Feeling euphoric, T-Mac told the press, ““It feels good to be in the second round.”
When last we left David Bowie, he had played six straight future classics from Hunky Dory to an audience that must have been fairly flabbergasted. Next up is a song that, to the best of my knowledge, he never made an official studio recording of: “Looking for a Friend” was played live and in radio sessions, but the only extant studio version is credited to Arnold Corns and sung by David’s short-lived protege Freddi Buretti.
I think Bowie suspected that “Looking for a Friend,” while not charmless, is a lesser composition that’s not really worth the effort. The idea, I guess, was to write a song that’s outwardly a laddish rocker and secretly a gay cruising song. The rousing chorus is designed to get you singing along before you know what you’re singing along to. But something about it never clicks; it’s simultaneously too clever and not clever enough. “Looking for a Friend” would soon be cut from the setlist and forgotten until people started poking around for Bowie rarities many years later. Some rarities are rare for a reason.
Location: Brodnitz Residence, Alameda Personnel: Me, Dan, Bob T-shirt: Is Potato
This was one of those games that simultaneously reminds you why you watch sports and and makes you question why you continue to do so. It was entirely too stressful for something that technically comes under the heading of “leisure activity.” After 47 minutes and 59 seconds of high-octane basketball, nothing was decided until Harrison Barnes’ three-point attempt caromed off the side of the rim and the hearts of all the world’s Warriors fans resumed beating.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself. There was food, there were friends, and the outcome was the desired one. But I’m ready now for a couple days off. Game 5 will be Wednesday, and unfortunately will take place in Sacramento, where things did not go so well last week. My project between now and then is to convince myself that my team has Seen the Light and can win one on the road, which they will have to do at some point if they want to win the series. Given 80 hours to work with, I think I can do it.